Whether by distance learning or ‘in-house’, a global health education (GHE) in the UK is going to cost you a pretty penny. But how much, and does it pay to shop around? I’ve recently been involved in a review of GHE in the UK. With some colleagues from Simon Fraser University, we reviewed all UG and PG global health programmes on offer at UK institutions for the period 2013-14. Almost as an afterthought, we tabulated the cost of each programme. 

 

We identified 14 institutions offering between them 24 Masters level programmes. There are at least two more institutions now offering an MSc in global health (both the University of Durham and the University of Southampton are offering global health programmes for the first time in 2015). 

InstitutionProgramme titleHome fees (£) (2013/14) (per annum unless otherwise indicated)International fees (£) (2013/14) (per annum unless otherwise indicated)Method of teaching
Brighton and Sussex Medical SchoolMSc Global Health590016200FF
Imperial CollegeMPH Global Health 900028500FF
King's College LondonMSc Global Health and Social Justice 825016500FF
MSc Global Health 825016500FF
London School of Hygiene and Tropical medicine (LSHTM)MSc Global Health Policy11650 (2-5yrs)11650 (2-5 yrs)DL
MSc Nutrition for Global Health820019250FF
LSHTM & King’s College London MSc Global Mental Health900022000FF
Queen Margaret UniversityMSc in Global Health Systems651012920FF
MSc Human Resources for Global Health651012920FF
Queen Mary UniversityMSc in Global Health, Law, and Governance 600010000FF
MSc in Global Public Health and Policy600010000FF
MSc in Health Systems and Global Policy600010000FF
University College LondonMSc in Global Health and Development775015500FF
MSc in Global Health and Development (tropEd stream)775015500FF
University of AberdeenMSc Global Health and Management340012000FF
University of ChesterMSc Global Health661510000FF
University of DundeeMSc in Global Health and Wellbeing800 per 30 credit module,
1,600 per 60 credit module, 1,260 for dissertation
2,040 per 30 credit module,
4,080 per 60 credit module,
2,865 for dissertation
DL
University of EdinburghMSc Global Health & Infectious Diseases 37703770DL
MSc Global Health & Non-Communicable Diseases37703770DL
MSc Global Health and Public Policy1010013700FF
University of GlasgowMSc Global Mental Health500016500FF
MSc Global Health500013000FF
University of ManchesterMPH Public Health (optional 'specialist plan' global health)650011000DL
University of OxfordMSc in Global Health Sciences1192028100FF

As you can see from the table, the University of Oxford charges the most for its masters programme (£11,920), the University of Aberdeen the least (£3,400), and there’s a range of charges in between. So, it does pay to shop around. The amount of money UK institutions charge international students to study global health is eye-watering – with Imperial College just pipping Oxford for the top slot (£28,500), although there are a few significantly cheaper options available (why not go to Barts – a snip at just £10000). Distance learning can also cut the costs significantly, with a number of affordable programmes under £5k (both the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the University of Edinburgh are making great strides on the DL front, though charge quite different fees – £11650 compared to £3770).

How times have changed, and not for the good. From a personal perspective, I can scarcely believe that anyone would stump up such vast sums to study here. I’m certain that I wouldn’t. I was fortunate and stumbled upon the Open University as a route back to earning a degree after a failed attempt at becoming a lawyer. In the early 1990s, the OU provided a subsidy for students on a low income, the effect being that I paid the princely sum of £60 a year for five years to study with them. In those days, distance learning was regarded as an affordable option for people on a low wage who wanted a higher education but couldn’t give up the day job. Today, the OU still believes “cost shouldn’t be a barrier to achieving your potential“, but a typical programme of six 60 credit courses will now set you back £15,792. If you are on a low income (less than £25,000 a year), the OU may grant you an introductory access course gratis, and give you some help with travel. 25 years on, I’m immensely grateful to the OU for their generous support, and I’m proud to be an OU graduate. I continue to hold the institution in high regard but it, like all higher education institutions, has moved with the times and is now charging their students a hefty sum to study with them. I struggle to justify those fees.

Andrew